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Pearl Izumi sue Garmin-Cervélo over missing aero suits

Pearl Izumi sue as Castelli get the 2011 clothing gig

In the wake of the announcement that the newly-rebadged Garmin-Cervélo team would be partnering with Castelli clothing for the 2011 season, out-of-favour kit manufacturer Pearl Izumi is suing Slipstream Sports, the management company behind the team, over a number of 'winged' suits that have yet to be returned.

The suits in question were allegedly given to the team in June, and Pearl Izumi contend that they requested them to be returned in late July, but repeated requests have been ignored. Pearl Izumi have named Robby Ketchell, the team's director of sports science, as a co-defendant in the writ, as they believe he's in posession of the suits.

The suits were developed as part of the Speed Shop development team, who were responsible for investigating aero advantages in clothing design. The 'wings', which cover the upper arm, are banned by the UCI under current regulations, a situation that Pearl Izumi parodied in a viral video in which a representative of the IFAC (International Fedreation of Apparel Compliance) investigates the Speed Shop for producing 'Weapons of Mass Acceleration'.

Pearl Izumi wants the suits back, obviously, and the Boulder-based Daily Camera reports that the lawsuit would also force Slipstream sports "to give up any information that may be related to the suits' design -- such as data compilations, drawings, diagrams and videos -- and to award Pearl Izumi any damages that may relate to the theft of its intellectual property as related to the winged suits".

There's another major repercussion to the lawsuit, namely that Garmin-Cervélo have yet to name their component sponsor for 2011. It's a straight fight between Shimano and SRAM, with Garmin-Transitions using the former in the last season while Cervélo switched to SRAM in 2010, citing better performance as the reason. GIven that Pearl Izumi is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Shimano USA, it would appear that the ball lies in SRAM's court, unless Shimano are in the business of giving with one hand and taking away with the other...

Dave is a founding father of, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.

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